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Improving Home Support Services with Synergy for Smart Care from Deloitte

By Ricardo Martins, Associate Partner, Global Smart Cities & Urban Transformation – Deloitte
By Hugo Serra, Sr. Manager, Global Smart Cities & Urban Transformation – Deloitte
By Pete Davis, Partner Solutions Architect – AWS

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While longevity has increased in the last century, we have missed a crucial point—we have not yet managed to connect with our elderly, leaving them largely isolated, alone at home, and in great need of social services.

Having a health issue detected in time can make a difference. With limited human resources dedicated to social care, technology offers strong potential in monitoring and accompanying elders’ daily lives.

The Portuguese Red Cross identified this issue and looked to implement a solution allowing it to monitor people’s health and living conditions (temperature, humidity, fumes, noise, and carbon dioxide levels), detect abnormal behavior, trigger alarms, and even avoid further health complications.

Aligning with the Portuguese Red Cross vision, Deloitte, an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and Managed Services Provider (MSP), leveraged the Synergy platform to launch a solution to solve the issue of elderly people living alone.

Deloitte’s Synergy is a platform designed to leverage the power of technology to manage a wide variety of infrastructures, including buildings, transport, logistic hubs, and stadiums, as well as citizen services like digital healthcare or student/campus services.

Synergy offers an end-to-end integration that considers critical factors to ensure cities and places of the future are human-centric. It’s flexible, agile, scalable, and modular to address the different needs of integrated infrastructure management. The goal of Synergy solutions is to help ensure citizens have the best experience, powered by technology, whether at work, in their commute, obtaining healthcare, or while out with our friends.

Bridging the Gap: Transforming Digital Healthcare

As part of the Synergy portfolio of solutions, Deloitte designed and developed the Synergy for Smart Care platform to provide the elderly living alone with real-time care service. With movement, air quality, and energy sensors installed in each of these homeplaces, the Synergy for Smart Care-based platform monitors elder population activity, alerting emergency services if something stands out from daily patterns.

As health care is mostly user-centric, in a recent customer use case Deloitte underwent a discovery process to understand the real needs of the elderly population and identify the health and living indicators required to design the use cases and dashboards envisioned by the Portuguese Red Cross.

Having concluded this discovery process, Deloitte created—in partnership with a tech startup—a set of customized sensors. These were grouped in two boxes: one containing environmental sensors such as temperature, humidity, fumes, noise, carbon dioxide levels, and movement sensors; and a second comprising energy meters.

The sensors allowed tracking general home conditions regarding overall temperature, air quality, and movement, as well as detecting energy usage patterns and abnormal movement situations.

Moving forward, Deloitte developed the low-level design Synergy needed to launch the solution (based on AWS services) and the integrations between the Internet of Things (IoT) data and the Red Cross Teleassistance Call Center (enabled through the Synergy platform).

With the support from the local government and Portuguese Red Cross, Deloitte identified 36 elderly homes to implement its set of customized sensors. Straightaway, there were indicators the solution was on the right path towards proactive health and well-being management:

  • In some houses, Deloitte detected high temperatures that could lead to dehydration.
  • In other cases, Deloitte spotted high levels of CO2 in specific areas of the houses that could lead to intoxication.
  • Above all, Deloitte started to perceive daily habits (such as making a coffee or watching TV at a specific time), leading to the detection of potentially hazardous situations.

The Synergy dashboards provide regular insights to the Portuguese Red Cross and the elderly’s families. Additionally, Deloitte has already generated six months of curated data, which it is continuously sharing with social care entities.


Figure 1 – Synergy for Smart Care dashboard.

Synergy: Expanding the Health Span with AWS

In the years to come, aging can look radically different from the experiences people have today. As such, Deloitte continues to upgrade its understanding of our elders’ needs, while working to improve the Synergy for Smart Care solution.


Figure 2 – Synergy for Smart Care architecture.

Synergy is powered by a number of AWS services, present across the platform’s activation process:

  • The IoT sensors installed in the elderly’s homes send periodically collected metrics data into AWS IoT Core MQTT topics.
  • The received data is then processed by Synergy running as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution on AWS.
  • The AWS Step Functions state machine ‘Add Metrics’ is invoked via a rule to enrich the metrics with federated IDs that will be stored in Amazon DynamoDB.
  • Based on the metrics recorded in DynamoDB, an AWS Lambda function raises alerts to ‘Command’ based on business rules; for example, if movement has not been detected in the residence according to normal patterns, or the residence registers high temperatures for a prolonged period.
  • The alerts are then passed to Amazon API Gateway, which invokes the Lambda function ‘Raise Alert’ to implement the business logic of how the alert should be processed and handled within the Portuguese Red Cross.
  • Being user-centric, Synergy for Smart Care is flexible, with each home sensor being installed, interconnected, and adjusted according to the elders’ living and health patterns. For this purpose, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance ‘Command’ acts as the configuration management database (CMDB), storing metadata and relationships between all of  the different devices, sensors, and teams.
  • Amazon Neptune is used as a graph database allowing for connections between entities to be tracked, highlighting potential service impacts and proactively raise incidents.

Additionally, the Synergy solution is prepared for remote maintenance: the AWS Lambda ‘Firmware Upgrade’ function sends a link pointing to the new firmware stored on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) via an MQTT topic subscribed by the device. The device then downloads the firmware from S3 and boot loads to the new firmware.

Smart Health Community: Enabling an Innovative Healthcare Ecosystem

As care moves outside hospital walls, new community players and disruptors have a crucial role in the new ecosystem. Deloitte is playing its part through Synergy for Smart Care, which uses AWS to accelerate the solution’s implementation.

AWS and Deloitte empower customers to transform their business, innovate faster, and grow ahead of the curve by combining AWS’s industry-leading cloud technologies with Deloitte’s deep industry experience, established customer relationships, and position as advisor to the C-suite.

Deloitte is a strategic global systems integrator with thousands of certified AWS practitioners across the globe. It continues to raise the bar through participation in the AWS Competency Program with 13 designations, including Healthcare. Learn more by visiting the AWS and Deloitte page.


Deloitte – AWS Partner Spotlight

Deloitte is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and MSP whose end-to-end capabilities and understanding of your business and industry help amplify the transformative value of cloud.

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